Greetings. Port Townsend is busy this week-end. Our annual Rhododendron Festival. Thousands of visitors to our little town. I tend to hide out. Pulled my first garlic, peas have flowers as do the tomatoes. Great time. I hope you enjoy this weeks offering. Do think about and practice with the Tai Chi Body in mind.
If we practice internal arts for self discovery, we will soon discover that our true self is hidden behind a mask. If we put in enough effort to strip away this mask, we will inevitably be faced with another mask. On and on, until most people just give up trying to find the true self. Some of these masks are quite repulsive to us, and we quickly go about getting rid of them, while others are quite attractive, and we might think and hope that this is the one and final true self. This mask is the most difficult to take off, as it might bring us momentary pleasure, power, fame, skills, and even peace. That is why it is important to have others around to help us, particularly wise teachers who have been down this or similar paths before. Let go of your attachment to being who you would like to be, and spend your time discovering who you really are. At the core, we are all unique in some way, and this special person is there for the finding.
The Tai Chi Body
Make a fairly large circle on a piece of paper. Now draw an X on top of the circle that extends outside the circle, with the center of the X slightly lower than the center of the circle. This is the perfect Tai Chi Body. The center of the X is called the lower Dan Tien. The lower part of the X are the legs, while the upper part of the X are the arms. What is important to realize is how the arms and legs originate in the center. We tend to view our arms as coming from the shoulder and the legs from the hip joint. This belief makes the Tai Chi movements choppy and not integrated. When stepping, be sure to lift the leg by contracting the leg up from the center, and placing the foot down by expanding from the center. Also remember that the arms cannot move by themselves. If you want the left arm to the right, for instance, turn the center to the right. As an example, bring the arms up to the front of the center of the chest, as if holding a large ball. Don’t move the arms by themselves, but turn the torso to the left and right. Notice how the arms move with the turning. With the arms in the same place, standing straight ahead, try to move the right arm forward, as if reaching for something. Do not move the hips. Notice how far you can reach. Now reach forward by turning the hips to the left and notice how far you can reach. Should be quite a difference. So when playing Tai Chi, always keep in mind the perfect Tai Chi body and step and kick from the belly. It is very important to connect the arms to the belly also for strength and integrated movements.